The Commonwealth Games are traditionally a place for events such as gymnastics, weightlifting and athletics. However, that is all about to change in 2022 as esports will be added to the events program as well.
The inclusion of esports at the upcoming Birmingham games will be known as the Commonwealth Esport Championships. This event will be a pilot, and therefore no medals will be awarded to the winners. There are hopes from the organisers, however, that this pilot will be successful, with the theory being it will draw in a younger audience to the games themselves.
If the pilot does turn out to be a success, the organisers believe esports could become a "fully-fledged medal discipline in 2026" (via Daily Mail).
There is speculation DOTA 2 will be one of the games teams will compete in during the event, with another two titles expected to be revealed soon.
There is also no doubt esport events have become more mainstream over the years. Even the Duke of Edinburgh Award now includes esports within its skills list.
The DofE's CEO Ruth Marvel stated in October 2021: "Esports is one of the fastest growing activities in the UK and helps young people develop essential skills".
The CEO cited esports for helping young people develop their strategic thinking and teamwork - something that many business leaders look for in an employee.
But even with these advances, the organisers of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games have prepared themselves for backlash from who look upon esports as a discipline with a certain amount of disdain. Let's hope Birmingham can prove them wrong.
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